Robert Friedland from Ivanhoe and Frank Holmes

If you woke up this morning from an eight-month coma and happened to glance through the business section of the newspaper, you’d be forgiven for being unaware of any economic slowdown.

Don’t get me wrong: Many businesses and families are still struggling. The number of Americans filing for initial jobless claims this week spiked above 1 million, while the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 remains above 1,000 a day.

But there was much else to celebrate this week.

Business activity in the U.S. snapped up to a post-pandemic high this month. The preliminary Composite Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI), a measure of both the manufacturing and services sectors, hit an expansionary 54.7, the highest since February 2019. The upturn was due primarily to stronger exports and new orders as overseas economies continue to reopen. China is also currently positive, as I shared with you last week, meaning 40 percent of the world’s economy is now in expansion mode once again.

To learn more on the PMI, watch the video below, taken during my keynote speech at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference (VRIC). Please also remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel and share with your friends!

U.S. homebuilders are incredibly bullish right now. This month’s National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index climbed to 78, matching a previous all-time record set in December 1988. While I’m on the subject, sales of existing homes soared almost 25 percent in July from June, the strongest monthly gain in U.S. history, on near-zero interest rates.

Finally, the S&P 500 closed at a new record high on Tuesday, ending the shortest bear market in U.S. history. The pandemic-induced pullback lasted only 33 days, compared to the median bear market length of 302 days based on data going back to the 1920s, as Reuters reports.

It’s this final point I’d like to focus on. Is the U.S. stock market’s incredible recovery justified, or is it “irrational exuberance” all over again? Year-to-date, the S&P has outperformed equities in nearly every other major economy, including the European Union (EU), United Kingdom (UK), Hong Kong and Japan. A lot of this has to do with the performance of tech stocks (more on that later), but something else appears to be happening here.